Télécoms sans Frontières heads to Haiti to help after earthquake
The telecoms industry’s global aid organisation has already dispatched a team to Haiti, following Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake, as Tropical Storm Grace threatens worse devastation.
That earthquake, which has already killed 1,300 people, is about to be followed by Tropical Storm Grace, likely leading to more problems for the people of the island.
Monique Lanne-Petit, director of Télécoms sans Frontières (TSF), said: “As soon as we received the alert, we decided to deploy a team immediately. Eleven years after our mission in response to the 2010 catastrophic earthquake, it was essential for us to be on the ground as soon as possible.”
The earthquake occurred on Saturday in the department of Nippes, lying on the Tiburon peninsula that runs westwards from the island. It was 125 km west of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, which was hit by a weaker earthquake in 2010, just 7.0 magnitude. But because of its location, right in the capital, that killed an estimated 220,000.
The TSF team is pictured arriving at Santo Domingo international airport in the Dominican Republic, which is Haiti’s eastern neighbour on the island of Hispaniola. TSF, based in France, has a Latin America and Caribbean regional office in the Mexican city of Guadalajara.
Lanne-Petit said: “We know the impact such catastrophes can have on the country and the need to act quickly. It is of paramount importance to assist a population that is already living in difficult conditions due to the political turmoil and civil unrest, and has now to face Covid, the earthquake and an approaching tropical storm.”
TSF, which Capacity supports and which is the charity partner at this month’s International Telecoms Week conference, said: “The impact of the earthquake on a highly vulnerable population has been catastrophic. The death toll is already at 1,300, and is unfortunately expected to rise in the coming hours. Over 5,000 people are reported injured and hundreds still missing.”
The organisation is working to provide telecoms assistance to the relief operations and reduce the impact of the disaster on the affected populations.
It is operating with the National Centre for Emergency Operations (COUN), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDEMA), the United Nations and the other humanitarian organisations deployed on the ground.
The TSF team arrived just hours before Tropical Storm Grace made landfall on the island. That is expected to bring torrential rains that could further worsen the situation.
According to the US National Hurricane Center, reported by CNN, Grace is expected to pass near or over the Tiburon peninsula this morning, local time, and move between Cuba and Jamaica in the afternoon.
Members of the industry can support TSF in US dollars, euro or British pounds via this link.